National Portrait Gallery
National Portrait Gallery
4.5
11:30 AM - 7:00 PM
Monday
11:30 AM - 7:00 PM
Tuesday
11:30 AM - 7:00 PM
Wednesday
11:30 AM - 7:00 PM
Thursday
11:30 AM - 7:00 PM
Friday
11:30 AM - 7:00 PM
Saturday
11:30 AM - 7:00 PM
Sunday
11:30 AM - 7:00 PM
About
Housed in the Old Patent Office Building, this art museum presents portraiture of prominent figures in American history, from presidents and inventors to even pop stars.
Duration: < 1 hour
Suggest edits to improve what we show.
Improve this listing
Tours & experiences
Explore different ways to experience this place.
What is Travelers’ Choice?
Tripadvisor gives a Travelers’ Choice award to accommodations, attractions and restaurants that consistently earn great reviews from travelers and are ranked within the top 10% of properties on Tripadvisor.
Top ways to experience National Portrait Gallery
The area
Address
Neighborhood: Downtown
How to get there
  • Gallery Place • 2 min walk
  • Metro Center • 6 min walk
Reach out directly
See what travelers are saying
  • Southwest_Gaucho
    Lake Havasu City, Arizona1,234 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Presidential Portraits are worth a stop
    Only had time to make it through the Presidential portraits and a fraction of other displays but it was well done. Everything was logical on how it was displayed in various rooms and there was a good flow to the art. I'm not a huge art fan but the works that are in here are impressive. I would return in the future to see more.
    Visited June 2023
    Traveled with friends
    Written July 5, 2023
  • jaauoc
    New York City, New York106 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    A wonderful and quiet place to visit, off the beaten path
    We wanted to visit somewhere different from the usual tourist mainstays of DC and this was a lovely place to visit. The portraits of prominent Americans fascinated all ages in my family from teen to boomer. We were there for 2.5 hours and still didn’t absorb everything. Definitely worth a return visit.
    Visited July 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written July 15, 2023
  • flo220
    New York City, New York349 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Enjoyable Smithsonian art museum
    The National Portrait Gallery shares its building with the Smithsonian American Art Museum. I enjoyed the Portrait Gallery more -- probably because I am more interested in history than art and was able to learn more from the portraits. Museum is small enough to be very doable in a few hours. Free to enter. Cafeteria in the middle of the building is very pleasant.
    Visited August 2022
    Traveled with family
    Written July 27, 2023
  • phvi2617
    Anaheim, California580 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    American art and history
    I only had enough time to see the Presidents exhibition and really wish I could have gone through the entire gallery as well as the Smithsonian American Art Museum, which resides in the same building. In addition to the iconic portraits there is also thoughtful commentary on the history of each presidency. It wasn't very crowded and is a great place to visit if you appreciate art and history.
    Visited July 2023
    Traveled solo
    Written July 29, 2023
  • Bruno V
    1,103 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Interesting exhibitions near Chinatown
    A bit away from the National Mall, this museum offers a permanent collection of portraits of people in American History, and temporary exhibitions. The inner patio is quite impressive. The building is a bit confusing in its structure. There was a temporary exhibition on American imperialism. Quite interesting and well documented.
    Visited August 2023
    Written August 23, 2023
  • Jeffrey H
    Honolulu, Hawaii67 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Surprisingly awesome experience
    The National Portrait Gallery is intertwined with the Smithsonian American Art Museum - same building. What a surprisingly excellent three hours. In fact, when I walked through several famous museums in NYC, I took only a few photos of special items. At this museum, I took 25 photos - so many wonderful drop-jaw objects. I also was introduced to Alma Thomas' excellent paintings. Awesome. It's also free.
    Visited October 2023
    Traveled solo
    Written October 10, 2023
  • csserious2
    Chantilly, Virginia820 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Great place to visit
    We have been to the Portrait Gallery to attend a wedding event on a Saturday evening along with 600 guests. Yes, they do have a huge majestic hall to host large gatherings. The ceiling of the hall was three stories high and the inside was beautiful. While we were waiting to enter the venue, we took sneak peak of some of the portraits in the hallway. Parking could be a challenge although garages are located nearby. People usually take metro or bus to cone to visit the museums and art galleries.
    Visited October 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written October 15, 2023
  • The_Wanderer1992
    Columbia, Maryland2,514 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Museum Visit
    My husband and I went to the combined National Portrait Gallery/American Art Museum. It's located in a beautiful building. Numerous artwork and portraits are available. The most popular section seems to be the American Presidents section with portraits of all the U.S. presidents from George Washington to Donald Trump. We did not see one with the current president. We tried to do the whole museum in our time allotment, though I'm not sure we covered it all.
    Visited November 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written November 12, 2023
  • sfuhere
    800 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Enjoyable
    Popped in on a whim as I was close by. I enjoyed myself. I made a beeline for the “America’s Presidents” exhibition, which is probably the most popular part of the gallery. It was busy but not so packed that it made it unpleasant. The area with the more historical portraits was quieter anyway. My only negative observation is that some of the lockers on the ground floor appeared to be out of order. It’s great that they are provided free of charge (certainly in Britain you’d have to pay) but I must have tried half a dozen before I found one that worked.
    Visited November 2023
    Traveled solo
    Written November 12, 2023
  • Robert D
    3,872 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Excellent museum
    The Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM) and the National Portrait Gallery (NPG) are both housed in the old Patent Office building. The NPG features portraits of people who had an impact on the U.S. Every year, there is a gallery titled "One Life" that is devoted to various portraits of a famous American. This year the subject is Frederick Douglass. The NPG had an exhibit titled "1898: U.S. Imperial Visions and Revisions" about the Spanish-American War and the acquisition of an empire by the U.S. Another exhibit featured portraits of all the Presidents.
    Visited December 2023
    Traveled solo
    Written January 4, 2024
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles3,601 reviews
Excellent
2,683
Very good
786
Average
120
Poor
10
Terrible
2

Andrew Tsui
San Diego, CA282 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2024 • Friends
Visited this gallery in the late afternoon and found it virtually deserted. For those highly passionate in the study of art and/or American History, this gallery definitely deserves 1-2 hours of your time.

The gallery contains the famed Lansdowne and Athenaeum Portraits of George Washington by Gilbert Stuart, and displays the official presidential portraits of every subsequent President (including the famed ones of President Kennedy, Lincoln, Obama). The gallery also displays the best-known portraits of Michelle Obama, Admiral Nimitz, General MacArthur, and General Eisenhower.

Moreover, the gallery is connected to the Museum of American Art, which displays contemporary art from the past 50-80 years, including Nam June Paik's "Electric Superhighway," which I found stunning and marvelous!
Written June 12, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Katstracks
Santa Barbara, CA76 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2024 • Couples
What a fantastic museum, off of the mall. I highly recommend this great collection of portraits, especially of the American presidents. World class.
Written May 29, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Diana L
Omaha, NE135 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2024 • Friends
This was a lot more fun than I thought it would be. Getting to see all the famous portraits of people all throughout history. I enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would.
Written May 20, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Alexandra C
35 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2024 • Couples
Truly a hidden gem amongst the “bigger” museums in the area. Going here was a spur of the moment decision fueled by Reddit reviews and it lived up to the hype that I read about. It’s much more than looking at pictures. Each painting/picture has a detailed description of what it is and the history behind it. The exhibits are top notch and truly a history lesson. There is much more “older American history” on display in this museum than in the “American History Museum.” Give yourself two hours to go through this if you want to read everything.
Written May 10, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

withubby
Irmo, SC49 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2024 • Friends
Excellent museum with varying exhibits. It shares space with the American Art Museum. The Amish Quilt Exhibit is fantastic. We did participate in the free docent-lead tour and the lady we had was just beyond excellent. I wish I remembered her name but she is a retired librarian and extremely knowledgeable. There is so much to see here!
Written April 18, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

James F
Cranbury, NJ236 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2024 • Couples
Portraits of famous Americans organized by era and topic (industrialists, artists, politicians, etc). Most of the portraits are unimaginative likenesses that are unimaginatively displayed and unimaginatively explained. At the end, however, a few of the portraits themselves are a little more creative (eg: Octavia Butler), but the presentation is still boring. We visited while we waited 45 minutes for a table at a neighboring restaurant and felt like we'd seen as much as we wanted to see.
Written March 31, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Jemlnlx
Bronx, NY5,399 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2024 • Solo
Lovely Gallery with some great portraits and information on each individual. Free to enter. No advanced reservations required.

Conveniently located in the Penn Quarter area...only a 15 minute walk to the White House and a 15 minute walk to the National Mall.

There is a large center area where the Orchid show currently is. Huge space with lots of tables and seating. There is also a small cafe selling Starbucks-like items there.

The Gallery is separated into a few areas including American Presidents, 20th Century Americans, Champions (Sports) and Portraits from 1600-1900.

Lots to see and learn...and of course, some awesome portaits. I loved the variety is art styles they covered throughout the Gallery. They realy did try to mix it up...which made it interesting.

Great experience...highly recommended.
Written March 19, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

GreenMountainGirls
Montpelier, VT205 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2024 • Family
Take your time here! The presidential gallery is wonderful, and there are special exhibits which can be great so check them out also. The portrait gallery and American Art section are both in this building, be sure to see the American art, which includes landscapes, modern, etc.
Written March 13, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Car7177
Milwaukee47 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2024 • Family
We loved this museum! The Presidential Portraits are incredibly interesting to view. This museum is one that is open until 7 pm. It’s a great choice to save for a late in the day activity. Highly recommend!
Written March 1, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Ilene
massachusetts779 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2023 • Couples
I loved every inch of this museum! In my top 3 in DC along with Smithsonian National Museum of American History and the National Gallery of Art. Holy smokes, I could have stared at Obama’s portrait forever. Simply electric.
Written February 14, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Showing results 1-10 of 3,368
Is this your Tripadvisor listing?
Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.
Claim your listing

NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY: All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos)

All Washington DC HotelsWashington DC Hotel DealsLast Minute Hotels in Washington DC
All things to do in Washington DC
RestaurantsFlightsTravel StoriesCruisesRental Cars